- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 10 Mar 2021
Electric locks may be split into two basic groups: those where the physical securing is achieved by use of a magnetic holding force, and those where an electric current is used to physically move a bolt or latch, usually via a magnetic solenoid or motor action.
Magnetic locks or ‘maglocks’ are the most common type used in access control systems. They work on the principle that when an electric current is applied to an electromagnet, its magnetising force attracts and holds firmly a magnetic material such as iron or steel, and when the electric current is stopped, the magnetic force ceases.
The usual arrangement for a maglock on a door or gate consists of a large electromagnet which is fixed to the door or gate frame, and an accompanying steel plate, or armature, which is secured to the door or gate itself.
Another form of electric lock is where a solenoid mechanically operates a bolt into its keep, or directly operates the keep itself. The keep is the part of the lock on the door frame that the bolt engages with.
A solenoid is itself a simple electromagnet that converts electrical current into mechanical movement.
Controls such as an access control system can energise and de-energise electric locks. Such controls may often be activated via PIN code readers, proximity sensors or fobs, key code pads or remotely via manual switching in a secured area of the building.
Often, such access control systems need very careful design considerations with regards to how the control is handled during an emergency, when the door or gate might be needed for safety or escape. In some instances, designers may elelct to link such access control systems to the building’s safety systems such as fire alarms.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Access control.
- Commercial security systems.
- Digital door lock market.
- ECA articles.
- Electric motor.
- Electrical energy.
- Electrical power.
- Entry control.
- Home security solutions market.
- How door locks work.
- Outbuildings security.
- Perimeter security.
- Proximity access control system.
- Security and the built environment.
- Security glazing.
- Types of alarm.
- Types of door.
- Types of lock.
- Visitor door entry system.
Featured articles and news
So why not write something?
LETI publishes guidance for energy efficient home retrofits.
Predictions about adequate post-pandemic IAQ in non-domestic buildings.
Government publishes plans to 'build back greener'.
The contentious nature of claims associated with cladding, fire safety and EWS1 forms.
ECA comments on low-carbon heating systems initiative and Heat and Buildings Strategy.
Cinders and other forms of domestic rubbish created filth but also generated great wealth.
CIC 2050 Group requests input to find out priorities for future industry leaders.
IHBC publishes response to consultation.